Parties agree: the government must regain citizens’ trust

The government must regain the trust of the citizens, according to politicians in The Hague. The benefits scandal and the consequences of Groningen gas extraction, among other things, have had such a deep impact on many citizens that this should never happen again, according to the unanimous opinion. A lot of big words are spent on this in the election manifestos. Parties are more vague about concrete solutions to make the government function better, fairer, and more at the service of the citizen and to improve contact between government and citizens. They expect that this should lead to more confidence among citizens in the government. Or at least to restore that confidence.

“In recent years, the government and government have failed to meet the citizens of the Netherlands on a large number of issues,” states the New Social Contract (NSC) manifesto by Pieter Omtzigt. The party’s priority is “a thorough renovation of Dutch public administration, to prevent mismanagement from creating new victims.”

“The government has behaved improperly towards benefit parents and the people of Groningen,” the VVD acknowledges in its election manifesto. “We will quickly correct the injustice that has been done to both benefit parents and Groningen residents wherever possible,” the Liberals add. The VVD has been part of the government for the past thirteen years. In “our liberal democracy, the government must always act based on the rule of law, service, humanity and the human scale,” the VVD believes.

“The social state of the Netherlands is crying out for recovery based on trust, respect, and solidarity,” says Frans Timmermans (GroenLinks-PvdA). According to the party leader, if the government places trust in citizens, the foundation is laid “to regain trust from citizens.”

BBB is also talking about a “deep crisis of confidence between citizens and government”. The PVV wants to get rid of an “all-powerful government that crushes people, as in the benefits scandal” and towards a government that is there for its citizens. D66 wants trust to become the starting point for policy again, instead of the current distrust. “A government that trusts residents lays a foundation for trust in the government.”

The parties also propose solutions, some of which are quite concrete, and others not at all. “We promote the human dimension in laws and regulations. We must prevent harsh effects of laws and regulations at all times,” the VVD wants. The liberals also no longer want people who unintentionally make a mistake to be immediately labeled as fraudsters. These six parties agree on this.
They also want the government to be close, helpful, and transparent. In addition to digital counters, citizens must always be able to go to a physical counter with their government questions or problems with the government.

To better protect people’s (fundamental) rights, laws must be constitutionally tested, according to NSC, GroenLinks-PvdA, and BBB. Furthermore, the NSC wants to establish a constitutional court for this purpose. However, GroenLinks-PvdA and BBB believe this is unnecessary and want to add this task to the work package of judges.

Overall, the government must acknowledge mistakes, learn from them, and correct mistakes, the six parties believe. According to them, this also contributes to regaining trust. The government must be open to criticism and suggestions from civil servants and implementing organizations. All parties also want better listening to citizens. As BBB writes in its election manifesto: For example, the BBB writes in its election manifesto: “The government should not only be interested in the opinions and problems of citizens at election times, but ALWAYS.” Parties agree: the government must regain citizens’ trust

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